First jobs go at Independent Insurance

Mark Batten and Dan Schwarzmann of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Insurance Restructuring Group, said that with the company no longer writing new business and the move to liquidation, job losses were inevitable.

Initially 1,044 people are being made redundant mainly from sales, marketing and the underwriting of new business.

Batten said: ‘Regrettably we have had to make staff redundant in those areas of the company concerned with writing new business.’

Batten was more upbeat, however, about former Independent employees finding work elsewhere.

‘We are pleased with the response from a number of leading insurers who have expressed strong interest in taking on considerable numbers of staff,’ he said.

Independent appointed liquidators last week following its decision to suspend the writing of new business the previous week.

Initial concerns over the state of the insurer arose in May when external actuaries from Watson Wyatt found large claims had not been entered into the insurer’s accounting system. Watson Wyatt had previously provided Independent’s actuarial certificate and KPMG had signed off its 2000 accounts.

In December last year Independent was valued at nearly £1bn.

Meanwhile, legal action by creditors of Independent moved a step closer this week with the unveiling of an action group aiming to represent policyholders, trade creditors, employee shareholders and other shareholders.

Organised by City law firm Class Law, Worthing-based Argyll Insurance Brokers’ Kevin Young was selected to chair the group. this week raised concerns that thousands of accountants may unwittingly be practising without professional indemnity cover following the collapse. Practising without indemnity cover could leave accountants open to massive negligence payouts if they are sued.


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